News from MSU Media Relations--Oct. 3

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Soccer, Men's Tennis and Softball.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mississippi State's soccer team closed a six-match road trip with a 7-0 setback to No. 20 South Carolina Sunday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

The Bulldogs finished the trek, which included four ranked opponents, 7-6 overall and 0-4 in SEC play.

South Carolina (9-2-2, 3-0-1 SEC) took the 1-0 advantage in the 17th minute when Christine Watts' 20-yard strike hit the bottom of the crossbar and deflected into the goal.

USC out-shot the Dawgs 29-6, with Kat Walsh's three attempts pacing MSU.

The Gamecocks extended the lead to 2-0 with 11:56 left in the opening frame when Lolly Holland sent a header into the right side of the net.

Just seconds later, USC made it a 3-0 match when Kayla Grimsley slipped behind the defense and beat sophomore goalkeeper Skylar Rosson in a one-on-one situation.

Rosson matched her career high with 12 saves.

USC went ahead 4-0 with 6:37 left when Brooke Jacobs' shot slipped past a diving Rosson into the lower left corner of the net.

South Carolina increased the lead to 5-0 four minutes into the second half when Grimsley served a ball across the box to Jacobs for her second goal of the afternoon. The two connected again in the 52nd minute for a 6-0 advantage, and just a minute later, Grimsley punched a corner kick in for a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs return to the home pitch for six of the season's last seven matches. State opens the homestand against Tennessee at 7 p.m. Friday. Sunday's match will be a battle of Bulldogs as No. 17 Georgia comes to the MSU Soccer Field for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Men's Tennis
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Four members of the Mississippi State men's tennis squad will make the trip west to Tulsa, Okla. to compete in the ITA All-American Championship, which is the first of three major events played in college tennis.

Fourth-year head coach Per Nilsson will lead the four prominent members of the MSU tennis team, led by junior Louis Cant who stands 38th nationally. Based on Cant's fall ranking and last seasons' results, he bypassed prequalifying and qualifying play and will automatically be placed in the main draw of competition for singles. Fellow classmate George Coupland, rings in fall action ranked 56th and will serve up his first match of the tournament in the qualifying draw of competition. Coupland will team with true freshman Zach White in doubles action for the event.

White, who is coming off a Southern Intercollegiate appearance where he defeated his career-first ranked opponent, will begin singles play in the qualifying draw. True freshman Malte Stropp, who stands as the 10th ranked freshman in the country, will also serve up in the qualifying draw of the Championship event.

Tournament play in the qualifying draw will begin on Monday and results will be made available at

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State defeated West Alabama 9-8 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon before finishing a perfect fall slate with 17-0 route of Shelton State at the MSU Softball Field.

Sunday's pair of wins gave Jay Miller's squad a perfect 8-0 record over three weekends of action.

Seniors Ali Bainbridge and Brittany Bell paced an MSU offensive attack that hit .439 and out-scored its opponents 94-19. Bainbridge, a Vestavia Hills, Ala., native, tallied a .594 batting average with a double, three triples, a home run and nine RBI.

Bell hit at a .524 clip and drove in four runs while scoring 12 times. Freshman Heidi Shape, a .480 hitter in her first action as a Bulldog, paced the team with 12 RBI.

In the circle, junior Lindsey Dunlap went 3-0 with 25 strikeouts. Sophomore Stephanie Becker and junior Misty Flesher won two games each while collecting 1.17 and 1.40 ERAs, respectively.

Game 1
Shape's ground-out to first base in the 10th inning allowed Briana Bell to score the winning run as Mississippi State opened Sunday's action with a 9-8 win over NCAA Division II member West Alabama.

Brittany Gates opened the inning at second base via the international tiebreaker. Briana Bell moved her to third with a bouncer through the left side of the infield, and Shape brought her home to complete the Bulldog rally.

Bainbridge paced MSU's 11-hit attack, going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Rookie Samantha Lenahan collected two hits and drove in a pair of runs.

In addition to scoring the winning run, Gates, a Houston, Miss., native, put MSU up 1-0 in the third as she reached on a bunt single and later scored on one of West Alabama's three errors in the game.

The Tigers answered, however, plating five runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-1 advantage.

MSU cut the deficit to 5-2 on a Bainbridge infield single, but the Tigers answered right back with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to push the lead to 7-2.

State cut the lead to 7-5 in the sixth, scoring three runs on a Jessica Cooley RBI single and a Lenahan double.

Mississippi State followed with a two-run seventh to force extra innings. Ka'ili Smith opened the inning with a single. Brittany Bell walked and Courtney Nesbit reached on an error to load the bases. Two batters later, Lenahan delivered an infield single that scored Brittany Bell, and pinch-hitter Chelsea Raines singled home pinch-runner Jessica Offutt with the tying run.

West Alabama regained the lead in the top of the eighth, but Bainbridge tied it back up in the home half of the inning with a single back to the circle. Dunlap held the Tigers off the scoreboard the final two innings to setup Shape's game-winning RBI.

Dunlap tossed four innings of hitless relief in the winning effort. Flesher surrendered two runs on five hits over the opening four frames, while Vry was touched for five runs (only two earned) over two innings.

Starter Katie Ford took the loss as she hurled 5.1 innings over two different stints.

Game 2
The second game of the afternoon was never in doubt after Mississippi State scored nine runs in the first and six in the second en route to a 17-0 victory against Shelton State.

Bainbridge hit two triples and drove in a pair of runs as she collected another three-hit outing. Cooley also contributed three RBI, and Shape, Briana Bell and Brittany Bell collected two hits each.

Becker, Vry and freshman Shana Sherrod combined to hold Shelton State to two hits in the contest.

Bainbridge sparked the nine-run first with an RBI triple. Smith brought her home as her ground ball was mishandled at shortstop. Cooley drove in another run with a fielder's choice, and freshman Rachel Zdeb drove in two runs with a double.

Shape continued her hot hitting with a run-scoring single up the middle, and Bainbridge capped the inning with her second triple of the frame, a two-run shot to the gap in right-center that scored Shape and Briana Bell.

Bell's sister, Brittany, got the six-run second underway with a double through the right side. She moved to third on an error and scored along with Shelby Fisher on a Cooley triple. The Bulldogs scored two more runs on a pair of wild pitches before a Smith ground-out plated Shape with the inning's final run.

MSU capped the game with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Briana Bell singled to lead off the inning, and Shape brought her home with a double. Bainbridge singled, and after advancing to second on the throw home, scored as Offutt found a hole in the right side of the infield.

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